Video: Winston Peters says he is staggered by what has not been done in the Cyclone recovery in Hawke's Bay
Winston Peters says he is staggered by what has not been done to rebuild Hawke’s Bay after Cyclone Gabrielle hit in February.
Peters visited Puketapu to view the Cyclone damage during a trip to Napier on Friday. He sat down for a full interview with Hawke’s Bay App before holding a public meeting at the Napier Sailing Club.
Peters said that while some progress had been made since he visited the region after the Cyclone, he says more can be done.
“I was staggered about what has not been done. There's truly some progress, but you can see a whole lot more is required and commitments that need to be made now.”
“That's why this is a real important election, because you've got all those woke, nice-to-do things that seriously are not going to work. You've got parties promising tax cuts. We can't afford tax cuts until at least 1 April, 2026. We've got a crisis on our hands right here, right now.”
He says that other politicians are making promises in this campaign, but the electorates of Hawke's Bay “need to know with great acuity, they're not going to be fixed up with these promises”.
“I've just been out to see the kind of forward costings to fix up these stop banks and what have you and the lost bridges and everything else and they go into hundreds of millions.”
Peters says that he has seen this before with the Christchurch earthquake under the National Government.
“That was all those years ago and here we are 11, 12 years on, not even fixed yet. Don't let that happen to the Hawke's Bay. People should take out a vote, take out some insurance here.”
Asked how he would handle the rebuild, Peter said that he would find out what an acceptable achievable cost target was and “settle for doing that now, because the sooner we do it, the better”.
“We've got to build in resilience right now. I've been able to see the provincial growth fund work. We started the provincial growth fund and those stop banks are critical now. And where we had them, they worked and when we didn't have them, they didn't work.”
Asked why people in Hawke’s Bay should vote for New Zealand First, Peters said the region had a “whole lot of people here who are coming up to retirement and over 65 years of age”.
“Only one party has ever defended the elderly against the numerous attacks of Labour and National since the eighties. We brought in the gold card, got rid of the surtax, restored superannuation when they're all on attack. And it's the only party that defending that people can retire at 65 years of age because we can afford it. All the rest, they may say different things now, but they've all wanted to increase the age.”
In the wide ranging interview, Peters criticised the current Labour Party, the media and the “woke left”, as well as refusing to say what his bottom lines would be in any negotiation with National to form a government after the 14 October elections.
Asked why he was still in politics after 45 years when he could be living a peaceful life, Peters said: “That's an interesting question and you're quite right.”
“But you know something? I have never seen this country in the state of this now. I've seen it have recessions. I've seen economic circumstances change. I saw the share market crash. I saw the Wall Street fraud that led to the 2008, 2009 crash. But what I'm seeing now is something far more sinister and this country's had an inflection point.”
“I've seen a full scale attack on the thing that we take great pride in as only one of nine countries with a proper democracy all these years since 1854. That's why I'm making a stand here. Because I think it's all on the line.”
Watch the accompanying video to see the full interview with Winston Peters